How can a Practice-A-Thon make the world a better place?

What's a Practice-A-Thon? Can it really make the world a better place? This idea recently captured the attention of many piano teachers in the Piano Teacher Central Facebook group thanks to Laura Roberts.  How did fellow teacher Laura Roberts end up sharing her fund-raiser idea at

Instead of explaining the connection now, please keep reading to learn why and to download Melody Payne's editable instructions so you can run your own Practice-A-Thon.

Thank you, Laura, for such an inspirational post!


Change the World Through Music

That’s this year’s theme for Kathy’s Music, the music school I teach for in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As teachers, we were challenged to think about what that meant to us, and to do one thing with our students this year, that would make the world a better place.

This theme really resonated with me, since I have a background in Music Therapy. I believe in the power of music to heal and bring joy to others, and this desire sparked the idea of a Practice-A-Thon. I wanted to show my students they can use their music to help others, just through practicing and performing! I also knew that if they actually packed relief kits with the money they helped raise, it would be a tangible way for them to understand how they were helping.

When the devastating hurricanes occurred, I really wanted to do something to help, but didn’t know what one person could really do to make an impact. But, I realized I have musical gifts, some wonderful piano students with supportive families, and my church.

My husband is a United Methodist pastor, and our two small churches were already collecting items for hygiene kits, school kits, and cleaning kits to send to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, a global, humanitarian relief organization.

I mentioned the Practice-A-Thon idea to another music teacher at Kathy’s Music, Laura Mason, and she got on board with her students, too. Collectively, we raised $1600 (!) through the Practice-A-Thon, and I used the money to buy supplies for cleaning kits to aid the hurricane victims.

We held a Practice-A-Thon recital at my church, to celebrate the efforts of our music students. Both of us teachers played piano solos and I was blessed to find the perfect piece to share: Solemnity by Leila Viss! [A piano solo arrangement which I sold here at the blog with all the proceeds going to the MTNA Benevolent Fund.] It was a beautiful addition to the recital and I was so pleased that through purchasing it I could help the hurricane victims even more!

Afterwards, students and their families worked together to assemble the cleaning buckets. We were able to complete 27 kits to send to UMCOR, which will be distributed to the hurricane victims to help restore and rebuild after such loss.

When we look around at the world, we see so much hurt and darkness. I just want to use the gifts and opportunities I’ve been given to shine a light and make someone’s world a little better. I’m excited that just sharing about this idea might be an inspiration for other music teachers to change our world through music, too.

Laura's Practice-a-Thon was inspired my Melody Payne's free Practice-A-Thon instructions found here.

Laura received her degree in Music Therapy in 1997 from Charleston Southern University, then moved to western Pennsylvania in 1999. There she began teaching private piano lessons and working as a music therapist in the activities department of The Caring Place nursing home. She became a Kindermusik educator in 2011, after attending classes with her own daughters. Laura moved to the Pittsburgh area in the summer of 2013 with her pastor-husband and is passionate about sharing the gift of music with private lesson students and preschool piano classes at Kathy’s Music.  She also serves as pianist for two United Methodist churches, plays string bass in a bluegrass band, and enjoys spending time with her three daughters.